American Elephants


If You Know History, Change Will Not Seem So Scary! by The Elephant's Child

I have the impression, which may be false, that American companies ordinarily went to great lengths to essentially stay out of politics. They might get involved when potential legislation negatively affected their company, or when their corporate knowledge suggested that something being considered was a very bad idea, that sort of thing. At that point corporate involvement would probably be requested anyway.

Today it is a different story. It has been reported that workers in a company may inform their management that they are opposed to something that is simply a political issue and has nothing to do with their company’s business. Last I heard, a company had an executive board and a president to decide corporate positions, and the workers were not invited to participate but only to vote in local and national elections like everybody else. And the discontented would probably get canned. But there was no corporate position anyway.

When I was a worker bee, I certainly had no illusion that I had a vote in corporate business nor did I have any expectation that my personal politics were anyone else’s concern, nor that it would be acceptable to announce who I was voting for or why. But then there was never an occasion when there were riots in the streets and company policies regarding race were up for discussion. I had a black boss, and associates came from a wide variety of national heritages, like life outside of work. Nobody wore campaign buttons or gave any idea of who they were planning to vote for. So it’s weird to see groups of workers attempting to inform their management  about what is acceptable and what is not.

Are the mayors who have been so prominent in the media up for reelection? I live in a Seattle suburb not Seattle itself, but Seattle is pretty far left. They voted for Mayor Jenny Durkan at some point, and Portland once voted for Mayor Wheeler, and we now have a clear understanding of how they perform under stress. and the same is true across the country. Democrats have been trying to convince Americans that the Corona virus and all accompanying problems are Trump’s fault, but the facts would indicate that he’s done a pretty good job. Governors have been grateful for prompt supplies of needed materials like ventilators and masks, and companies nationwide have started producing them to meet the needs. The Seattle area had the first cases in the country, and travel from China was halted immediately.

I expect that there will be long term changes. The big cities will lose population as residents move to places where riots are unacceptable. Businesses will move. Will working from home become the norm? Some businesses have already announced that working from home will extend into 2021 or more. Not having to maintain corporate offices would save a lot of money if a good portion of the workforce could work from home. If “daytime pajamas” become the norm rather than tailored suits, there will be vast changes in the fashion industry. What precautions will become necessary for business to avoid disruption? Things change, but the impetus is not always clear. If you know history, change will not seem so scary.

Schooling seems to be on the brink of mass disruption. States are trying to decide if schools will be open or closed. Charter schools are an extremely beneficial change for black kids, but extremely unacceptable to teacher’s unions. The unions do not want to return to the classroom, but online education is not working, partly because teachers don’t know how to make their online classes interesting and compulsive as well as get the necessary learning into student heads. So far, a lot of kids just aren’t doing the online work. Some well-to-do families are getting together to hire tutors. I don’t know how much we know about kids’ home situations. Do most parents go out to work and leave the kids home alone? There’s a recipe for disaster. Homeschooling may rise in popularity, but some families don’t really have choices. Parents need to work. So expect big changes, not all of which will be acceptable.

I live in a Seattle suburb. The area has many international businesses, some of them famous, who hire many workers from abroad. My suburb is dotted with little storefront schools that teach English, and small storefront groceries that carry the foods from worker’s home countries. Does this go on all over the country? Are international companies just situated on the coasts or are they the norm everywhere? I have no idea. Immigrants from some countries populated different parts of the country because of climate or industry there. Washington and Idaho and Montana have lots of wheat growers and lumbering. Washington, Oregon, California and Alaska have major fishing industry, and so it goes across the country. Meatpacking ended up in the Midwest. Potatoes in Idaho and Maine.

Britain’s invention of machines to make thread out of cotton led to America’s slavery, but less than 5% of African slaves were brought to America. The majority went to the sugar islands and to South America. Early on, indentured servitude was popular in the Thirteen Colonies because of a large demand for labor, and more than half of immigrants to British colonies south of New England were white servants who came under indenture, because of the high cost of transatlantic transportation which was beyond the means of European workers. Between the 1630s and the Revolution one half to two thirds of the total white immigration came  under indenture.

The British Empire ended slavery in 1833, but did not prohibit the practice of indentured servitude until 1917. Somewhere between one half and two thirds of European immigrants to America came under indentures, usually as young men or women. Most went to the South where cash crops were common, for the North industrialized earlier. Remember that Australia was partly populated by prisoners who were transported. It’s all a fascinating history, probably not very familiar to today’s rioters. The movement of people and customs around the globe is not over, and will not end any time soon, and we are still making new history. We’ll have to wait a bit to see what the Space Force turns up.



History is a Record of What Happened. You Cannot Fix it! by The Elephant's Child

File:Emancipation Proclamation - LOC 04067 - restoration1.jpg

Democrats are apparently terrified that Donald Trump might win re-election this fall and subject them to another four years of terror. Their immediate focus concerns the vote of Black Americans. They have already shown that they will kneel in abject humility on the floor of the United States Congress, draped in what they consider to be African apparel to show their plaintive agreement that “Black Lives Matter,”and encourage Blacks to vote for them.

Not enough. Nancy Pelosi is now attempting to demonstrate that Republicans are the “white supremacy” party and Democrats deeply oppose the side of the South in the Civil War of 1861, by removing four portraits of former Speakers of the House who once served in the Confederacy.

Well, it’s a little difficult to blame it all on Republicans when one recalls that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican.  He issued the Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862, which became effective on January 1, 1863. The reproduction shown above was from 1864 and is in the Library of Congress.

History is a record of what happened.  Sometimes new evidence is discovered that alters our understanding, but in general we’re stuck with the evidence of what really happened. Human nature is not all sweetness and light. We are human beings, some good, some bad and some really dreadful. No saints.  Do remember that most families have trouble getting along,

Most of us don’t know enough history. Our public schools are clearly doing a lousy job, and if we have kids, we need to help them to get interested.  The general knowledge of history, American history and world history is lacking. Knowing how we screwed up in the past sometimes helps us to avoid doing it again, but we cannot remake the past. What happened, happened.

Slavery was at one time common. Muslims ruled the slave trade in Africa, and marched captured Africans north, and to the Atlantic coast to ship to the Americas. Most of the slave trade went to the sugar islands and South America rather than to the Southern States. American Indians kept slaves. When they warred with another tribe, those captured were kept around to do the scut work, rather than killed when the fight was over. That may be the origin of much of slavery. Britain stamped out the slave trade. They set the Royal Navy to eliminating the Atlantic slave traffic, which they did.

Look at all the changes in society that have made slavery unnecessary, aside from being disgusting, of course.  Most of the slave trade in the South was because of the cotton crop which the British needed for their fabric mills, and the South needed for income.  Farm work today has become heavily mechanized, though there are some things that still must be picked by hand. Farm equipment is truly astonishing these days, and the elaborate machines are something to behold. And we are just at the beginning of the age of robots and computer printing and there are plenty of enthusiastic applicants for the Space Force. The more we know about our own history, the better it will help us to avoid bad mistakes in the future.



The Western World Has Gone Stark Raving Mad. by The Elephant's Child

See the source image

Here’s the box they built around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain. Police also protected the cenotaph, and protesters bravely threw some statues into the River Thames.

In Whittier, California, BLM protesters defaced a statue of John Greenleaf. Who is he?  He was a prominent Quaker abolitionist, known for his anti-slavery writings.  A picture shows the usual graffiti. Sometimes, it seems, we get a little over-excited about attacking statues. Of course, unlike attacking real people, statues just sit there and behave like the inanimate objects they are, and there’s no fuss unless the police catch you at it, and even then it depends on what the local rules are about attacking statues. It is entirely about the symbolism, and attacking a king symbolically ranks a little higher than a symbolic mere member of Parliament, for example.

Of course in America we went for bigger targets than mere statues (which were attacked as well) but that can’t compare to HBO blacklisting Gone With the Wind. Good Grief! Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler. Hattie McDaniels, who is black, won the first Oscar ever given to a person of another race. It was well deserved, but there’s the rub. She played the role of Mammy, a slave.

Well, never mind Oscars, the outrage was furious. Banning Gone With the Wind!  America’s favorite movie of all time. What happened immediately was that everybody went out and bought a copy for their own, and just think through the economics of that little stunt, and how it would reverberate down through the years. I can even quote you the opening lines of the book: “Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm, as the Tarelton twins were.”

HBO decided that unbanning Gone With the Wind was probably the better idea, but because of George Floyd and all, they hired  Black scholar and TCM host Jacqueline Stewart. She is a professor in the Department of Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago.  Cinema and Media Studies is a major at the University of Chicago? It has not been yet announced just when GWTW and Scarlett and Brett will return to streaming services. Jacqueline Stewart will provide an introduction to the movie, so you understand the correct viewpoint. This is a very odd time, we can’t seem to decide whether we can allow history to remain unchanged, or if we have to have a do-over that we like better. Historically, we do recognize that the Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Southern forces fired on Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and on April 15, President Lincoln issued a public declaration than an insurrection existed and called for 75,000 militia to stop the rebellion.  It ended on April 9, 1865 when General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S, Grant at the Appomattox Court House, with a remarkable lot of history in between those two dates. If you are unfamiliar with the Civil War, study up! You’ll be glad you did. Here’s a guide to books on the war.

You might want to look up the Emancipation Proclamation.

Race has come up as a major subject in the international outrage over the death of George Floyd. Statues are being destroyed in this country, in Britain, Australia, Scotland–Robert the Bruce, the Scottish King who freed Scotland from England’s clutches, and who knows where else, which accomplishes nothing at all, but expresses varying degrees of outrage over varying subjects. The Civil War in general, any generals who fought for the South,  anything named for a general who fought for the South, that sort of thing.  Fort Bragg and Fort Benning are especially mentioned as needing to be renamed immediately to appease the anger about race.  Quick, can you tell me where Fort Bragg is, and who it is named for? Didn’t think so. How about Fort Benning — location, named for? If we are going to be outraged and change names, shouldn’t we know what we are talking about, and how it relates to, for example, “CHAZ” or “CHOP” as it is now, on six blocks of Capitol Hill in Seattle? And what does that have to do with putting a box around the statue of Winston Churchill in Britain?

What seemed to happen to George Floyd was clearly an outrage, but what actually happened was not as it seemed. The call to police about Floyd was that he was trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill. We never learned if it was counterfeit or not. There must have been some kind of resisting arrest going on for him to end up on the ground with an officer holding him down with his knee.

Floyd was a very large man who worked as security in a night club, a “bouncer” as they are called, as did the police officer, and they apparently worked at the same establishment. The cause of death is unclear. Yes, he was saying “I can’t breathe” but before the choke hold as well. He was apparently high on fentanyl. The autopsies (there were two) also mentioned a heart attack, and another fatal condition. The officer has been charged with murder, but in the middle of international outrage. I have no idea. It just sounds like it is a lot more complicated than we were led to believe. The outrage over what was seen on film was huge. The emotion stirred up was huge and has led to all the rest.

Hopefully, enough information will eventually come out to clarify the whole thing. Why it has led to the destruction of Columbus statues, names of anything connected to the South in the Civil War, remains unknown. Aunt Jemima syrup has changed its name and picture. Kellogg’s Rice Crispies has been attacked for Snap, Crackle and Pop who seem to be three white boys. The same white boys are on the Cocoa Crispies box, although the cereal is brown.  In other words, a big section of America has become certifiable. A City Councilman in Charlotte, SC has declared that it is time to proclaim that racism is a public health crisis. The worst reaction is the call to defund the police. which is beyond stupid. Unfortunately it has all been exacerbated by the CORONA-19 turmoil and societal shutdown and all the chaos that has caused. Emotions were already stirred up by people locked down.

This too shall pass.  From the Federalist: “Why White People Will Always Be Racists: Whites are continually put into the position of forever having to prove the negative, that they’re not racists. This is impossible. And that’s the point.”



Uncommon Knowledge, with Author and Columnist Douglas Murray by The Elephant's Child

In this issue of Uncommon Knowledge from the Hoover Institute, Peter Robinson is joined by British author and columnist Douglas Murray to discuss “The Death of Europe.” Important and chilling. You can just shove stuff to the side and avoid taking it on for so long, but at some point you have to take a hard look at what is, and decide what, if anything, you are willing to do or even can do about it. Do watch the whole thing, it is important.



An Interview from the Candace Owens Show. by The Elephant's Child

Candace Owens interviews British Journalist and author of “The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity” for a dynamic conversation about race, LGBT issues and feminism. Candace Owens is terrific. Not long and worth your time.



The Climate Has Been Changing for Millions of Years by The Elephant's Child

On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, Elizabeth Warren announced that Climate Change is “A Bigger Threat Than World War II”, and launched a Two Trillion “infrastructure investment plan” to address the threat of climate change, which she claims is a bigger threat to the American way of life than the enemies the Allied forces faced in World War II. The climate crisis in this country is a threat to the very existence of every living thing on this planet.

Not to be outdone in the climate panic department, our very own governor, Jay Inslee, who is running for the presidency on a climate based campaign in which the American people have showed no interest whatsoever, told an NBC News correspondent that President Trump’s stance on global warming is “treason.”

Something that is becoming increasingly obvious about Democrats is that they simply do not do their homework. It is remarkably obvious as well in the other 23 declared candidates for the presidency. They open their mouths and say something that should disqualify them from not only the presidency, but from whatever office they currently hold. Before you start spouting about existential threats to all life on the planet, you should have actually looked into the science. You could start with Dr. Roy Spencer and Dr.Tom Christy who measure the temperatures of the Earth for NASA at the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

The climate of the earth has been warming and cooling for millions of years. When the current interest fading into panic first reared it’s ugly head, all sorts of grants became available to anyone who could write a good grant proposal. Science departments in many universities felt that they could accomplish something with more powerful computers and the program used by financial people to forecast what the markets would do. Trouble was there were all sorts of unanswered questions out there, like the part played by clouds. They entered what they knew for sure, which was not all that much, and then their best guesses, and a few wild ones, and so we arrived at the current state of affairs.

Thing is, the planet is actually cooling, not warming. Glaciers are not melting, they are growing. Glacier National Park has quietly removed the signs “Gone by 2020” after the glaciers just kept on not being gone, but actually growing. The increased CO² in the atmosphere is greening the earth, since carbon dioxide, which we exhale, is a natural fertilizer for plants.The increased greening is visible from space.

The major greenhouse gas (95%) of the atmosphere is not Carbon Dioxide (CO²) but water vapor. (Clouds) According to Dr. Tim Ball, the next most important greenhouse gas of relevance is methane CH4, but it is only 0.000175 percent of atmospheric gases and 0.036 percent or all greenhouse gases. Water vapor is 95% of the atmosphere by volume, and is by far the most abundant and important greenhouse gas. And we just don’t understand clouds at all.

Surely when you were a kid, at some point you lay out on the lawn on a nice summer day to just watch the clouds drifting across the sky. If the action of clouds is a major determinant of climate, how do you measure that? Sometimes there are layers of clouds, each layer going in different directions. Sometimes there are lovely white clouds in front, and off in the distance big black thunderclouds, everything moving.

Then there is Christiana Figueres. She was the general secretary of the IPPC who admitted in a press conference that the goal of environmental activists was not to save the world from ecological calamity — but to destroy Capitalism.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said.

There are numbers of others in the climate field who have made similar admissions. There are innumerable books on climate and the error of climate panic, from Britain, Australia, Canada and the U.S. There’s a wide range of websites devoted to climate, I’ve listed just a few in the sidebar.

*The photo is looking due north. If you head over to the snowy peak and jump off towards the North, you will be where I grew up. This mountain is the northernmost anchor of the West range of mountains in Idaho. Nice country.



An Odd Exploration of American History and Folkways by The Elephant's Child

I woke up this morning with a nonsense song my father used to sing to me when I was very little, in my head, and tried to write it down. Then I decided to try to search to see if it was a popular song of his day, or a children’s song from his childhood., or indeed, if anything at all would result from a search, after all, this is the computer age!

Here’s what I wrote down, deeply imprinted in my head after all these years, and don’t ask how many.

Shoo, shoo, shoo went the Roo,
Shoo went the Rocklechockle,
Chittle went the Choo,
Crosskey a Vanjo, Faddle Daddle Day,
Cajittle went the Banyan Slando.

We went up on yonder hill,
There we sat and cried our fill.
Cried enough tears to fill a water bill,
Cajittle went the Banyan Slando.

I found first:“Mia’s Bicultural Bedtime:

She comented: “I learned this song from my own mother. One of the few early memories I have is of her singing this to me at night time.”
The “Johnny’s gone for a soldier” line suggests the Civil War, but…

John Cowan wrote on Yahoo in 2003:
I got curious about a song half-remembered from my childhood and spent a few hours tracking it down. It makes a marvelous example of the folk process at work, as well as what happens to Irish when the Americans (even those of Irish or Scots-Irish descent) get hold of it.
The original song is “Shule Aroon”, and the first verse and chorus look like this (old orthography):

I would I were on yonder hill
‘Tis there I’d sit and cry my fill,
And every tear would turn a mill,
Is go dtëidh, a mhuirmin,slán!

Slubhail, slubhail, slubhail, a rúin!
Slubhail go socair, agus slubhll go cluin,
Slubhail go dti an dorus agus euligh liom,
ls go dtéidh tú, a mhuimin, slán!

On arrival in the colonies, the song split into two versions. The better- known one shed its Irish altogether, aquired a Revolutionary War motif and became:

Here I sit on Buttermilk Hill,
Who should blame me cry my fill?
And every tear would work a mill,
Johnny has gone for a soldier.

Buttermilk Hill is in Westchester Couty, New York; supposedly dairy
cattle were hidden there during the Revolution to protect them from
raiders from either side. The tune changed too, but all versions can be
sung to all tunes, so I ignore this.

But in the southern U.S., where there were lots of Irish and Scots-Irish
people, the Irish was retained in singing, but its meaning was forgotten and its phonetics garbled. This version was collected in Arkansas in 1958, when I was busily being born.

Well I wish I was on yonders hill
There I’d set and cry my fill
Every drop would turn a mill
Ish come bibble ahly-boo-so-real.

Shule-shule-shule–roo
Shule-like-sharus-spilly-bolly-qule
First time I saw spilly-bolly-eel
Ish come bibble in the boo-shy-laurie.

Not too much later, I learned the “Buttermilk Hill” version but with the following chorus:

Shool, shool, shool a rool,
Shool a rack-a-shack, shool-a-barbecue,
When I saw my Sally-baba-yeel,
Come bibble in the boo-shy laurie.

And so over the past 200+ years, Irish has turned slowly to complete
gibberish…Ghu only knows what will happen to the song if Americans
keep singing it for the next 200 years.

My version (complete gibberish) but recognizable with the crying-on-a- hill part, came from the South Carolina Scots-Irish who arrived shortly before the Revolution, and my father’s father was descended from that group. My father came from Pennsylvania. The song was unknown to my mother whose people were very early New England.

I don’t know if you find the folkways interesting, but perhaps there’s someone out there with another version. Of course early Americana is beyond out-of-fashion currently, evil, white people invaded a peaceful paradise, displaced and destroyed the gentle indigenous peoples, and if we just tear down all remnants of the founding….

It would probably help a lot more if our schools did a decent job of teaching American history. The current crop of aspiring candidates for the presidency, and the new young representatives in Congress make it clear that there is something deeply wanting in the history department.



A Cheerful Song About BREXIT : Shall We Stay or Shall We Go?? by The Elephant's Child

If you re offended by a little vulgarity (the F-word) nevermind. If not, this is great fun. Pure English Music Hall, I think though I’ve never been in one.



Beware the Snake Oil Salesmen! by The Elephant's Child

This post was originally written on March 8, 2011.

It’s hard to visualize just how big these things are.  In Europe, and I don’t know the location, adventurous souls are climbing turbines and jumping off with parachutes (parafoils?).

When those who are pushing for more wind farms talk about “capacity” they are talking about the amount of energy that could be produced if the wind was blowing at a constant speed of about 30 mph.

The problem with wind is not the turbines, the problem is the nature of wind. It is intermittent. It blows in puffs and gusts, in gales, zephyrs, breezes, squalls or not at all, and there may be no wind for days. In a gale, the turbines may have to shut down to avoid damage.  Each turbine requires 24/7  backup for the times when the wind does not blow, or does not blow strongly enough, or too strongly.  The usual backup power plant is fired with natural gas, but power plants are not meant to cycle on and off so frequently to compensate for intermittent wind. You can build bigger and better turbines, but it won’t solve the problem of intermittent and unpredictable wind.

Europe has been far ahead of us in falling for the promise of wind energy. They fell for the global warming fraud with a greater degree of panic, and for the promise of “green energy” and “green jobs.” That did not work out well.  Britain, however, had long-standing power plants that needed replacement and were required to be shut down at a certain point. Enthusiasm for green energy and EU imposed greenhouse gas targets have created enormous problems for the British people.

“Electricity consumers in the United Kingdom will need to get used to flicking the switch and finding the power unavailable” according to Steve Holliday, CEO of National Grid, the country’s grid operator. “The grid is going to be a very different system in 2020, 2030.  We keep thinking that we want it to be there and provide power when we need it.  It’s going to be much smarter than that.”

“We are going to change our own behavior and consume it when it is available and available cheaply.”

Holliday says that blackouts may be a feature of power systems that replace reliable coal plants with wind turbines to meet greenhouse gas targets.  Have to do it, but it will mean lifestyle changes.  Maybe they should get the EU to bag the “greenhouse” nonsense, instead.  Britain had a higher number of deaths from the cold this year and more energy poverty.

Under the so-called “smart grid” that the UK is developing, the government-regulated utility will be able to decide when and where power should be delivered, to ensure that it meets the highest social purpose.

The government might decide that the needs of some industries take precedence over others, or that the needs of industry might trump that of residential consumers. Government would also be able to price power prohibitively if it is used for non-essential purposes.  Smart grids are being developed by utilities worldwide to allow the government to control electricity use in the home, down to the individual appliance, and be capable of turning them off if the power is needed elsewhere.

So Britain’s wind farms aren’t having back-up power plants?  I can think of a few objections.  You cannot predict when the wind will blow.  Mr. Dalrymple requires a 3 hour surgery for some major repairs — how do you schedule the operation?  A manufacturing plant has machines that must run all day — processes can’t simply be suddenly halted. Long periods without wind often come during especially cold periods.  It doesn’t matter how “smart” your grid might be if whether or not power is produced at all is completely unpredictable.

We must take Britain seriously. Their long romance with the welfare state provides us with vast evidence of what not to do.  Their National Health Service is a growing disaster, and they are trying to save it with major reform that returns authority to doctors and patients. Their welfare state has created a permanent underclass. And their belief in the fraud of global warming is leading them to another disaster. We must pay attention to the evidence.



American Life Expectancy Has Declined for the Third Year in a Row by The Elephant's Child

he Center for Disease Control and Prevention just revealed that American life expectancy has declined for the third year in a roll. The last time that happened was at the end of the first World War and the huge flu pandemic. The reason is clear – drug overdoses, and suicide. Last year 70,000 Americans died of a drug overdose.

This is double that of Canada, relative to population, and three times the rate in England and Wales. The health care system, on the other hand, works. The number one killer in the United States for decades has been heart disease. Between 2000 and 2017 the death rate from heart disease has dropped by more than 35%, and last year there were 63,000 fewer deaths from heart disease than in 2,000, and one-third the rate in 1969. I should note that if you take the suicide and drug overdoses out of the tabulation, life expectancy is back to increasing slowly. This is a lesson in how statistics can be deceiving.

The United States has also made tremendous gains against cancer, the second-most prolific killer of Americans. From 2016 to 2017, the overall mortality rate from cancer declined 2.1%. And since its peak in 1991, the U.S. cancer death rate has fallen nearly 30%.

Cancer kills more people, as a share of the population, in other countries. Canada’s cancer mortality rate is 198 deaths per 100,000 people — 30% higher than the corresponding rate in the United States. The United Kingdom’s cancer death rate is 80% higher than in the United States.

Socialized medicine does much worse. The government-run systems in Canada and Britain are not able to serve the needs of their patients. In England, 28,000 patients whose doctors referred them urgently to a hospital had to wait more than two months to start treatment. Almost 11,000 of those patients had to wait more than three months. In the U.S. 45 drugs for cancer have been approved between 2009 and 2013, Canada’ health care system covered just 13. Don’t let anyone sell you on Single-Payer Health Care.

There aren’t many things that are better done by a large bureaucracy. Health Care is not one of them. When a bureaucracy does it, cost becomes the major factor, and cutting costs ranks higher than anything individual. The other thing to take away from those statistics is the urgency of drastically cutting the flow of drugs into the country.

 



A Song of Patriotic Prejudice by The Elephant's Child

The rottenest bits of these islands of ours
We’ve left in the hands of three unfriendly powers.
Examine your Irishman, Welshman or Scot
You’ll find he’s a stinker as likely as not

The English the English are best
I wouldn’t give tuppence for all of the rest

The Scotsman is mean as we’re all well aware
And bony and blotchy and covered with hair,
He eats salty porridge, he works all the day
And he hasn’t got Bishops to show him the way

The English are noble, the English are nice
And worth any other at double the price

And crossing the Channel one cannot say much
For the French or the Spanish. the Danish. or Dutch
The Germans are German, the Russians are Red
And the Greeks and Italians eat garlic in bed

The English are moral, the English are good
And clever and modest and misunderstood

Flanders & Swann



A Day of Thanksgiving, Then And Now. by The Elephant's Child

First published in 2008

On March 22, 1621, an official Native American delegation walked through what is now southern New England to negotiate with a group of foreigners who had taken over a recently deserted Indian settlement.  At the head of the party was an uneasy triumvirate: Massasoit, the sachem (political-military leader) of the Wampanoag confederation, a loose coalition of several dozen villages that controlled most of southeastern Massachusetts; Samoset, sachem of an allied group to the north; and Tisquantum, a distrusted captive, whom Massasoit had reluctantly brought along as an interpreter.

Massasoit was an adroit politician, but the dilemma he faced would have tested Machiavelli.  About five years before, most of his subjects had fallen before a terrible calamity.  Whole villages had been depopulated—indeed, the foreigners ahead now occupied one of the empty sites.  It was all he could do to hold together the remnants of his people.  Adding to his problems, the disaster had not touched the Wampanoag’s longtime enemies, the Narragansett alliance to the west.  Soon, Massasoit feared, they would take advantage of the Wampanoag’s weakness and overrun them.

Desperate threats require desperate countermeasures.  In a gamble, Massasoit intended to abandon, even reverse, a long-standing policy.  Europeans had been visiting New England for at least a century.  Shorter than the natives, oddly dressed, and often unbearably dirty, the pallid foreigners had peculiar blue eyes that peeped out of the masks of bristly, animal-like hair that encased their faces.  They were irritatingly garrulous, prone to fits of chicanery, and often surprisingly incompetent at what seemed to Indians like basic tasks.  But they also made useful and beautiful goods—copper kettles, glittering colored glass, and steel knives and hatchets—unlike anything else in New England.  Moreover, they would exchange these valuable items for cheap furs of the sort used by Indians as blankets.  It was like happening upon a dingy kiosk that would swap fancy electronic goods for customers’ used socks—almost anyone would be willing to overlook the shopkeeper’s peculiarities.

This is how author Charles C. Mann describes the first contact between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans, in his fascinating book 1491, which alters our view of the Americas before the arrival of the Europeans in 1492.  He goes on to say: “British fishing vessels may have reached Newfoundland as early as the 1480s and areas to the south soon after.  In 1501, just nine years after Columbus’s first voyage, the Portugese adventurer Gaspar Corte-Real abducted fifty-odd Indians from Maine.  Examining the captives, Corte-Real found to his astonishment that two were wearing items from Venice: a broken sword and two silver rings.”

As for the Indians, evidence suggests that they tended to view Europeans with disdain as soon as they got to know them.  The Huron in Ontario, a chagrined missionary reported, thought the French possessed “little intelligence in comparison to themselves.”  Europeans, Indians told other Indians, were physically weak, sexually untrustworthy, atrociously ugly, and just plain smelly. (the British and French, many of whom had not taken a bath in their entire lives, were amazed by the Indian interest in personal cleanliness.)…The Micmac in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia scoffed at the notion of European superiority.  If Christian civilization was so wonderful, why were its inhabitants all trying to settle somewhere else?

The Wall Street Journal has two editorials that it has been publishing on this day ever since 1961 : “The Desolate Wilderness”, and “And the Fair Land.” This year they have another piece by Ira Stoll on the first national Thanksgiving holiday, “A Day of Thanksgiving”, on Thursday, Dec. 18, 1777.  You will want to read all three.

We wish you and yours a most Happy Thanksgiving.  We all have much to be thankful for.




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